BALTIMORE -- Red Sox manager John Farrell showed no visible scars when he strolled into the dugout Sunday morning to conduct his daily media session. That came as a mild surprise, given that his lineup card did not include Dustin Pedroia’s name for the first time this season.
But no, Farrell assured one and all, it didn’t take a steel-cage match to persuade the Red Sox second baseman that a day off was not the end of the world.
“Pedey was, I think, a little more willing to take today and tomorrow,’’ Farrell said of Pedroia, who is just 4-for-23 on this trip and admitted Saturday that the baseball has looked like a “baby aspirin” the last few games.
Besides, there was no guarantee that Pedroia wouldn’t find a way to inject himself into the action before the day was through, keeping alive his undeclared goal of playing in all 162 in 2013.
The most games Pedroia has played in a season is 159, in 2011. He has played 154 or more games three times in his career; injuries have gotten in the way in other years, but Pedroia didn’t let even a torn UCL muscle in his left thumb, incurred in the first game of 2013, stop him from playing every day this season.
Jose Iglesias made his first professional start at second base, after appearing at the position a total of four innings in two games as a late-inning replacement.
Iglesias takes a 16-game hitting streak into Sunday’s game, the longest by a rookie in the AL this season and longest by a Sox rookie since Jacoby Ellsbury hit in 18 straight in 2008. Iglesias is batting .439 during his streak and has nine multihit games in his last 13 games.
Farrell had acknowledged on Saturday that Iglesias may force the team to review its plan of Iglesias playing three times a week, mostly by spelling Will Middlebrooks at third and Stephen Drew at short. Middlebrooks has a double and two singles in 18 at-bats since coming off the DL Monday, while Drew is batting .147 (5-for-34) in his last 10 games, though he hit a tie-breaking double in Saturday’s 5-4 win.
“I don’t know if we’re at that point today,’’ Farrell said, “but he’s certainly making a strong case for it. As we continue to go through, before the first half is complete, those things will become a little more clear. In the meantime, he continues to do a very good job.’’
This will be Iglesias’s fourth start since Farrell announced the rotating arrangement. Iglesias is 5-for-11, .455 in his previous three starts.